Santa Anita—Main Office
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We are continually faced by great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.
Or so goes the old saying.
Those of us who survived the ongoing decline of racing in California, with the recent closure of major tracks in both the north and the south (Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park), and the imminent abandoning of racing and training at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds at Pomona by year’s end, will soon be finding out if the opportunities really do outdistance the problems.
On June 29, Santa Anita reached the end of its first six-month season in history, racing without significant interruption from Christmas onward. Its ownership reaped enormous gains – a veritable windfall – from on-track attendance and total handle when compared with Hollywood Park's previous numbers for ten incremental weeks this spring, including the Triple Crown dates. With Los Alamitos racing the final two of Hollywood's former summer weeks bridging into the traditional Del Mar seven-week season, the net impact for the industry’s financial health, especially purse generation, is yet to be seen.
Del Mar, Calif. – Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) and California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT) stand together in support of the open letter distributed by Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (THA) on August 6, 2014, regarding Lasix.
Memberships of both organizations overwhelmingly support current initiatives to implement uniform medication guidelines including use of Lasix. A broad coalition of racing entities has been working within the Racing Medication Testing Consortium (RMTC) on this issue for several years. For the first time, the Thoroughbred industry became united in its efforts to join all racing jurisdictions under the same medication guidelines. This major initiative and step forward ought not be disturbed.
Instead, a united sport needs to continue its work until these guidelines have been adopted in every racing state. Dr. Mark Dedomenico’s efforts to fund additional research on Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) require support. Objective scientific research rather than political posturing must guide policy-makers and regulators to the next steps. Making arbitrary changes to rules or policies, not founded in objective science, would only result in additional turmoil and failure.
David Jerkens To Become Racing Secretary at Del Mar
(January 30, 2014)
David Jerkens, currently the racing secretary at Northern California’s Golden Gate Fields, will relocate to Southern California in early June and assume the role of racing secretary at Del Mar, it has been announced.
Jerkens, 35, is being brought on at Del Mar to strengthen the racing department headed by Tom Robbins, the track’s executive vice president for racing and industry relations, as well as its long-time racing secretary. Robbins will continue to work out of the seaside track’s racing office, but will turn over the racing secretary duties there to Jerkens so he (Robbins) can dedicate more time to other track assignments, including several national and international projects and committees that demand his attention. Additionally, Del Mar will hold a second fall meeting this year covering the month of November, putting more requirements on the track’s racing office and its personnel.
"Like fine wine…" flowed the words from emcee Ted Bassett at the annual Eclipse Awards Dinner to announce that John Henry had been named 1984 Horse of the Year at the advanced age of nine.
The same words today could describe octogenarian Ron McAnally, John Henry’s Hall of Fame trainer and poster boy for the geriatric set. McAnally, who celebrated his 82nd birthday on July 11, ages gracefully while continuing to pump out Grade 1 stakes winners.
"Seated at a Clocker’s Corner table one morning in June near the end of the extended Santa Anita Park meet and looking forward to Del Mar, McAnally made only a few minor concessions to Father Time while continuing his lifelong love affair with his job.
ATTENTION THOROUGHBRED TRAINERS
CTHF Clinics Now Available to Treat Work-Related First Aid Injuries
(January 31, 2013)
CTHF Clinics Now Available to Treat Work-Related First Aid Injuries
Working with Finish Line Self-Insurance Group and the California Thoroughbred Trainers, the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation (CTHF) will begin treating workers' compensation cases at the medical clinics beginning February 1, 2013.
There have been many calls for the banning of raceday Lasix in Thoroughbred racing. The grandees of the sport, in the form of The Jockey Club, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, etc. have decided that Lasix must go. Fortunately for the horses, the effort to bar Lasix in North America seems to have stalled.
Tuesday, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission delayed action on a proposal to ban Lasix in that state. Wednesday, the New York State Racing and Wagering Commission was overwhelmed with thousands of comments opposing a proposed Lasix ban, including 500 pages of documentation from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, representing owners and trainers.
A year ago, I was uncertain about the Lasix issue. Since then, I've studied the science, notably a South African study financed but now disavowed by the Jockey Club that shows (a) that some 80 percent of horses have at least internal bleeding when they race and (b) that Lasix helps eliminate or reduce the level of bleeding. The more I learned, the more I'm convinced that Lasix is the most humane solution to a persistent problem. In fact, I've become so convinced that I was deeply involved in drafting N.Y.T.H.A.'s response to the state.
Show more/less of the article...
Horses bleed. While only a few (1 percent to 5 percent) bleed visibly through the nose or mouth, many more have internal bleeding in the lungs and trachea. And that internal bleeding causes cumulative damage. The more horses bleed, the more likely they are to bleed in the future. At the extremes, severe bleeding can cause a horse to die on the racetrack.
Lasix works. All the studies show that a modest dose of Lasix greatly reduces the incidence and severity of bleeding. Since Lasix was introduced in New York in 1995, severe, visible bleeding has been reduced by 76 percent. Whatever the cause of the far-too-many fatalities at Aqueduct this winter, it wasn't Lasix. As Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey said on this year's Kentucky Derby telecast, "I've never had a horse break down under me because of Lasix."
Unlike (now-barred) steroids and other illegal drugs, Lasix doesn't enable a horse to perform beyond its natural ability, only to be more likely to reach that ability. And whatever the situation may have been years ago, Lasix no longer interferes with testing for other illegal drugs. New York now tests racehorses for some 900 illegal substances, and leading equine toxicologists unanimously agree that Lasix doesn't mask any of those drugs.
If Lasix is barred, trainers will revert to the cruel and illegal methods used in the past to limit bleeding. They'll withhold water, and perhaps food, from horses for 24 hours or more before a race. They'll use illegal, and less effective, drugs like "Kentucky Red" or tranexamic acid – both of which have been detected in "Lasix-free" jurisdictions. Or they'll use trainer Woody Stephens's old trick of giving his grooms red towels to wipe off the blood before anyone noticed.
New York's horsemen support getting tough on the drug cheaters. We've proposed to the State Racing Board that they tighten limits on painkillers, corticosteroids and clenbuterol, and that they make permanent the current arrangements under which Lasix is administered in specified dosages by veterinarians who work for the state or the racetrack, not the trainers. But we don't support a Lasix ban that would inflict unnecessary pain on the horses that we love and that would serve no purpose other than the ego gratification of a few of the 1 percent.
This article does not necessarily represent the views of either N.Y.T.H.A. or B.E.S.T.
Steve Zorn, a lawyer and law professor in New York, is the racing manager of Castle Village Farm thoroughbred partnerships and a director of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and the Backstretch Employees Service Team. He writes the Business of Racing blog.
California Horse Racing Board
1010 Hurley Way, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95825
Date: October 28, 2014
SUMMARY OF CHRB ACTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS 10-23-14
ARCADIA, CA – The California Horse Racing Board conducted its regular meeting Thursday, October 23, 2014, at Santa Anita Park. Chairman Chuck Winner presided. 1st Vice Chair Bo Derek, 2nd Vice Chair Richard Rosenberg and Commissioners Madeline Auerbach, Steve Beneto, Jesse Choper and George Krikorian were in attendance.
The Board approved the Los Angeles Turf Club's license application for a race meet at Santa Anita from December 26, 2014, through June 28, 2015. Santa Anita President Tom Ludt reported that the Stronach Group has invested more than $30 million in improvements to the facility over the last 18 months, including replacement of the main track with materials consistent with the existing track at Los Alamitos and the new track that will be in place at Del Mar for the 2015 summer meet, providing uniformity of racing surfaces at all Southern California tracks.
The Medication and Track Safety Committee reported its support for proposed changes to CHRB Rule 1843.3 that would prohibit suspended trainers from transferring horses to employees, prevent the use of the trainer's signage and other identifiable tack during suspension, and reduce from 60 days to 45 days the trigger for a suspended trainer to forfeit stall space and related restrictions. Staff will be drafting various alternatives, including a suggestion to lower the trigger to 30 days and suggestions for more detailed language to prevent suspended licensees from benefiting financially during a period of suspension. The Committee members will be meeting with stakeholders for their input prior to the Board considering this matter at the November 20 meeting.
The leaves are beginning to fall and the nights are getting cooler, but show season is still in full-swing. Does your horse still have the potential for gastric ulcers? Join us in October as our expert, Dr. Jean-Yin Tan, answers your questions concerning equine gastric ulcers on AAEP's "Ask the Vet" forum.
STUDY: IDENTIFYING SIGNS OF HUMERAL AND SCAPULAR FRACTURES
(November 28, 2012)
Study: Identifying Signs of Humeral and Scapular Fractures
Dr. Erin McKerney, in collaboration with Dr. Susan Stover from the J.D Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory, at UC Davis is conducting a study to better understand the events that lead to catastrophic fractures of the humerus and scapula in racehorses. These injuries can happen suddenly, unexpectedly and often without warning to horses under the care of a large variety of trainers. Complete fractures of the scapula and humerus are almost always fatal; but, when recognized early, the predisposing incomplete stress fractures can heal and horses are able to successfully return to racing.